Catherine E. Woteki

  • Visiting Distinguished Institute Professor
Cathie Woteki headshot


Dr. Catherine E. Woteki is a visiting Distinguished Institute Professor with the Biocomplexity Institute at the University of Virginia. Dr. Woteki is a member of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), the sole body of advisors from outside the federal government charged with making science, technology, and innovation policy recommendations to the President and the White House. She also is currently a Professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University where she served as Dean of the College of Agriculture from 2002 to 2005.

Dr. Woteki was Undersecretary for United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Research, Education, and Economics (REE) mission area, as well as the department's chief scientist from 2010 to 2016. Her responsibilities included oversight of the four agencies that comprise REE, the Agricultural Research Service, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Economic Research Service, and National Agricultural Statistics Service, as well as the National Agriculture Library and National Arboretum.

She has held other prestigious positions, including Deputy Associate Director for Science in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) from 1994 to 1996. At OSTP, she co-authored the Clinton Administration's policy statement, Science in the National Interest. She also served as the first Under Secretary of Agriculture for Food Safety during the Clinton Administration, 1997-2001.

Dr. Woteki was director of the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences from 1990 to 1993. During her tenure as director of the Food and Nutrition Board, she had direct responsibility for 27 studies and co-edited a nutrition book entitled Eat for Life, which became a Book-of-the-Month-Club selection. She has also held positions in the National Center for Health Statistics from 1983 to 1990 and the Human Nutrition Information Service at USDA from 1981 to 1983.

Dr. Woteki is the recipient of many awards for her contributions to science and society, and was inducted into the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, Hall of Fame in 2017.


    • Nutrition
    • Human Health
    • Agriculture
    • Science Policy
    • Elected to the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences
    • Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
    • Fellow of the American Society for Nutrition
    • Phi Kappa Phi
    • Phi Sigma
    • Phi Tau Sigma
    • Outstanding Young Women of America
    • Elijah White Award, National Center for Health Statistics
    • Outstanding Alumna, College of Human Resources, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
    • Staff Achievement Award, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences
    • Lenna Frances Cooper Lecture, American Dietetic Association
    • Hazel Stiebeling Lecturer, Florida State University
    • Honoree in “60 and 60” commemorative book, Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture
    • Outstanding Alumna, Mary Washington College
    • Henry A. Wallace Award, Iowa State University
    • Ellen Swallow Richards Award, Board on Human Sciences, Association of Public and Land Grant Universities
    • Hall of Fame, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA
    • B.S. Biology and Chemistry, Mary Washington College, 1969
    • Ph.D. Human Nutrition, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1975
Selected Publications
Social and Decision Analytics
Woteki C . Nutrition Today. 2019; 54(4):141-143
Social and Decision Analytics
Garza C; Stover PJ; Ohlhorst SD; Field MS; Steinbrook R; Rowe SR; Woteki C; Campbell E . The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2019; 109(1):225-243
Social and Decision Analytics
Kretser A; Murphy D; Bertuzzi S; Woteki C; Yada R . Science and Engineering Ethics. 2019; 25:327-355
Social and Decision Analytics
Woteki C; Buchanan GA . The Hill. 2018;
Social and Decision Analytics
Shipp S; Woteki C; Keller S; Nusser S . The Conversation. 2017;
In the News
Biocomplexity Institute News

Distinguished Institute Professor, Dr. Cathie Woteki, has been appointed to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). PCAST advises the President and White House on policy recommendations regarding science, technology, and innovation.

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Public Health

In 1969, then-President Richard Nixon commissioned the first and only White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health, which became a catalyst for much-needed progress in U.S. policy focused on hunger and malnutrition. What was set in motion over the course of the three-day conference changed the national landscape around food and nutrition policy, and has had lasting impact almost five decades years later.